My Pet Swallowed Something Weird. Does It Need Surgery?

By April 30, 2018 May 3rd, 2018 Pet Emergency
My Pet Swallowed Something Weird. Does It Need Pet Surgery?

Dogs and cats chew or swallow just about anything they can get in their mouths. Their reasons vary. Cats often find any kind of string irresistible. Many dogs love the smell of your dirty underwear and socks. Most of the time, pets regard a found object as something to play with and accidentally swallow it.

Occasionally, your pet might be hungry and intentionally eat whatever it finds. Some medical conditions can cause dogs or cats to eat non-food items. If your pet consistently prefers to consume foreign objects, it’s important to have a thorough examination by CVETS to determine why.

My Pet Ate a _________

Frequent items that pets swallow include:

Balls
Bones
Clothing
Coins
Remotes or controls
Sticks
String or yarn
Toys or parts of toys

These can require pet surgery to remove.

As well as everyday items, vets have surgically removed knives and other metal objects, back scratchers, plastic and rubber items, and corn cobs from pets.

You may sometimes find what your pet ate in its vomit or feces. Some objects, however, become stuck somewhere in the digestive system. If you know that your pet ate something large or indigestible, like a rock, then take it to a vet as soon as possible.

What Went In Stayed In

More often, you won’t know what or when your pet ate. The object is stuck inside. Symptoms that indicate an obstruction include:

Abdominal tenderness or pain
Behavioral changes
Choking or gagging
Diarrhea
Difficulty breathing
Lack of appetite
Lethargy
Straining to defecate or constipation
Vomiting

Prompt veterinary attention is essential.

Foreign objects can damage internal organs. In the worst cases, obstructions can become toxic and lead to death. CVETS will order x-rays to determine what is causing the obstruction and where it is located before performing pet surgery to remove it.

DIY Can Harm Your Pet

Avoid delaying getting medical attention because you are hopeful the foreign object will pass through your pet’s system. Other actions to avoid include:

Palpating the abdomen to “loosen” the obstruction
Giving something to induce vomiting
Giving something to induce a bowel movement

CVETS may be able to get the object to pass with these procedures rather than surgical removal, but you can worsen the situation if you try them at home.

If the object has passed through the system enough to protrude from the rectum, do not attempt to pull it out. Doing so can cause serious injury.

Pet Surgery Prognosis

Much depends on the condition of your pet and the seriousness of the foreign body obstruction as to whether pet surgery is recommended. One factor is the location of the object. Surgery can be easier on your pet if the object is still in the stomach, rather than in the intestine. That’s another of the reasons why it’s important to consult CVETS as soon as you’re aware your pet potentially has an obstruction.

The prognosis for dogs and cats undergoing pet surgery for the prompt removal of a foreign body obstruction is good, especially if the animal is otherwise healthy. CVETS will give you postoperative instructions to aid in recovery, as well as tips for avoiding repeat episodes.

CVETS is Columbia, SC’s state-of-the-art regional center for pet emergencies. Bring your distressed pet to us; your pet’s life may depend on it.